MORE than one in 10 people in the Balearic Islands suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), according to new Ministry of Health figures.

The condition affects 11.1% of the adult population, rising to 13.6% among men and dropping to 8.5% among women.

The disease is mainly caused by smoking and is the fourth leading cause of death in Spain.

In the Balearics, there are 24.13 deaths per 100,000 people due to COPD.

Son Llatzer Hospital in Palma, Mallorca, has 160 outpatients with advanced COPD who have access to a special phone number they can call if their symptoms worsen, which has resulted in a decrease in hospital admissions and emergency room visits.

Although it generally affects smokers, COPD can also hit non-smokers due to continuous exposure to smoke from the combustion of biomass (wood-fired ovens and stoves in poorly ventilated environments) and those who live in places with high industrial pollution as well as passive smokers.

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